At Home on the Range: The confessions of an e-mail schizophrenic
April 14, 2006
by Jody White
With a feeling something a kin to dread, I connect on to Outlook Express so I can e-mail my article. I avoid looking at the little icon that indicates if I am getting any incoming mail. And I absolutely, under no circumstance, look at how many e-mails I already have, or out of those I already have, how many remain unopened! These days when I get into my e-mail program I feel claustrophobic … and guilty. I try to sneak in and out as quickly as I possibly can, avoiding eye contact with any names.
An e-mail junkie I ain’t! No, I think I probably fall in to that dubious category of being an e-mail schizophrenic.
I don’t know how it happened, or why I break out into a cold sweat every time I even think about opening the program. Maybe it has something to do with going from three to four e-mails a day at the most, to getting as many as 15 to 20. On one particular day, after having been away from the computer for a little over a week, I opened my e-mail program and discovered that I had 240 messages, and 200 of them were unread. I was overwhelmed. I thought that maybe if I answered or dealt with at least five a day, I could work my way through them. Well that was pretty counter-productive. It was like trying to patch a big hole in the water tank with a piece of chewing gum. The e-mails multiplied like prolific rabbits. I was drowning!
Then, somehow, I started receiving advertising, jokes and health reports ” on top of my regular e-mail! And any messages I would delete were like pieces of cellophane loaded with static cling, I couldn’t get rid of them! I’d delete them after having read them and they would go directly to the delete box where after a week or so I would highlight them all and push delete, only to find them all there again the next time I wanted to empty the delete box. It was like the “Twilight Zone”! I figured the box could only hold so many and then it had to self-destruct, explode or whatever! Right?
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Something had to give at one end or the other I was certain.
And what about those e-mails that we all get from friends and family? Or those beautiful e-mails, mostly forwards, with a beautiful message … and an accompanying curse attached ” “If you don’t send these to five, 10 or 20 other people immediately after reading something good isn’t going to happen to you!” Couldn’t they just send me the beautiful thought without the curse? I feel guilty enough already.
So why don’t I just not think twice, and go down the line and delete every e-mail when I have a log jam going on? Well … I can delete the ads, the reports and the jokes. But the people I know??? Even if all the messages are forwards I can’t bring myself to just … just … delete them. Would the people know? Would they even care? Probably not. But for some bizarre reason I think that they would and will. And besides that, hey ” I’m a woman! And somehow not knowing what are in those little messages just seems to get the best of me.
So, for those friends, family and acquaintances that have e-mailed me, I want you to know I will not delete you. I will answer each and every e-mail … it just might not be in this century! Hope that’s okay.